The India MedTech Expo 2023 showcasing the many Healthcare transformations through MedTech continued to move the needle on its second day through the thought-provoking session on ‘Future Trends in MedTech for Geriatric & Home-based Care’. The event was held at the Helipad Exhibition Centre, Gandhinagar in the presence of government stakeholders from various ministries, international diplomats, and industry leaders from MedTech, Hospitals & Healthcare space.
The session on elder care which was chaired by Dr Vinod Kumar Paul, Member, NITI Aayog and moderated by Pavan Choudary, Chairman, Medical Technology Association of India (MTaI) trained the spotlight on MedTech’s crucial role in enabling care for seniors. The session was enriched by the participation of policymakers from the Department of Social Justice & Empowerment, National Health Authority (NHA), and the Health & Family Welfare Department of Gujarat. The insights shared by industry stalwarts from Antara Senior Living, ProTribe Senior Care Services Pvt Ltd, Pristyn Care, Healthcare at Home and Abbott Diabetes Care raised the caliber of the discussion.
Steering the discourse Pavan Choudary, Chairman of the Medical Technology Association of India (MTaI) said, “Earlier elders had much utility. They would not only babysit but also produce food, make tools, weapons, baskets, pots; they had knowledge of politics, medicine, religion, songs and dances. Their knowledge about rare events like epidemics, wars, because of the benefit of their years made them useful. But today, their utility has diminished as the repository of knowledge they carried is a click away and industrialization has catalysed the mobility of the young away from family professions and towards nuclearization of families. Their utility has diminished and so has their self-esteem.”
“The increasing healthcare and caregiving costs are making elders an expensive burden. Many caregiving children fall in the ‘sandwich generation’, with parents to care for on one side and their own children to care for on the other, added Choudary.”
Underscoring the need for financial planning by the elderly, Choudary shares a quote from Khalil Gibran that ‘when a father gives to his son, both laugh, when a son gives to his father, both cry’.
Setting the context Choudary shared that today the elderly face physical, mental, financial and social hardship and urged the panellists to put forward their ideas, products and services to address these hardships.
Dr Vinod Kumar Paul, Member, NITI Aayog, during the panel discussion, stated, “The aging demographic presents both a societal and governmental obligation to address the needs of the elderly population. A landmark study recently revealed that 43% of the elderly population would require one or more assisted medical device in the coming future. At present, the disability rate among individuals aged 60 and above surpasses 10%, emphasizing the significance of comprehensive support mechanisms. Within this context, there exists a promising trajectory for the advancement of assisted medical devices tailored to senior living. He also stressed that the industry should through its efforts address the specific needs of elderly women in India as well.”
Rajit Mehta, MD & CEO of Antara Senior Living, said, “It was apt timing to discuss how we can get better prepared for taking care of our elders. It’s a multi-dimensional issue with ‘capacity to serve’ and lack of ubiquitous financing options being key constraints. Very heartening to hear from Dr Paul and Saurabh Garg that they are aware of the key issues and quite keen to collaborate with all relevant stakeholders to look at viable solutions.”
The panel sought the government’s help on resolving GST anomalies, non-coverage under ABPMJAY and other government schemes. It also explained that the draft Uniform Code for Medical Device Marketing Practices (UCMDMP) was put together meticulously by Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) after thorough stakeholder consultations with industry, patient groups, healthcare practitioners, etc. This code included the necessary checks to ensure ethical marketing practices in the medical device industry and at the same time permitted training initiatives for the Healthcare workers which is essential to keep up with the ever-evolving innovation in the MedTech space and achieve our ambitions of providing trained healthcare workers for the world. However, while the finalization of this code is still awaited, NMC has implemented the Registered Medical Practitioners (RMP) guidelines which have imposed impractical and retrograde restrictions on doctors’ participation in third party educational activities.